Friday, March 21, 2014
How busy students get it all done
I had a fun mash-up of my different worlds this past week or so when I interviewed several of the top finishers in the Intel Science Talent Search for my Fast Company blog on time management. You can read 7 Time Management Strategies From Some Brilliant Teenage Prodigies by following that link. I've got a pretty full schedule now, but I certainly remember feeling about the most busy I ever have in my life during my senior year at the Indiana Academy, when I was taking various tough classes and applying to college and still trying to look like the sort of well-rounded kid colleges would like. I don't really remember how I got it all done. Some times I probably didn't. Eric and Zarin had some great strategies that adults can use too. If we want to get big things done, we need to block in time for those priorities. Even if you don't know exactly what you'll need to do, blocking in 30-60 minutes for a big project every day guarantees that you will spend a lot of time on it. I'm kind of doing that right now as I'm working on a new novel. I don't know all of the plot or characters yet, but by forcing myself to produce 2000 words a week, I wind up spending time and mental energy on it, and as I do that, I figure it out. They also pointed out that big projects can be broken into manageable chunks. And those chunks can often be done in bits of time. Eric would do his homework in the waiting time he'd have in the lab. Consequently, he didn't have a lot of work waiting for him in the evening or on weekends. One thing I didn't put in the article, though, is also the importance of space in your normal schedule. Eric got to go to the lab during school hours frequently, which means it wasn't added time. When I was at the Indiana Academy, we had classes M-W-F, mostly, with more open time on Tues and Thurs. So there was time for studying and projects that just wouldn't be available with 5 full days of classes. Schools can arrange to make big projects possible if they want, and a lot of the schools that send people to Intel STS finals every year have just this sort of option available.